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Welcome to the Sonoma County Gazette ARCHIVE of PAST EDITIONS. Our NEW WEBSITE is up and running, so GazExtra is serving as your path to archived articles. Thanks for being part of our Sonoma County community...stay in touch...e-mail me - VESTA

Monday, June 27, 2011

Fire News - July 2011

Focus on Fire Safety
Fire season in Sonoma County has begun! Please remember to maintain your defensible space around your homes. Defensible space is the area around your home that is properly maintained to slow the advancement of a wildfire. Please visit your local fire station or for more information.
Now that the temperatures are rising and the grasses are starting to dry out, it is becoming easier for wildland type fires to start. Remember to mow high weeds and grasses early and often. The lower temperatures and higher humidities help slow a fire should one start.
Remember to keep hydrated throughout the day on hot days. Dehydration can lead to heat stress or heat stroke and can be contributed to many medical emergencies during extreme heat. Avoid strenuous activities during the afternoons and drink plenty of fluids. While sodas and other beverages are tasty, water is generally the best at helping to stay hydrated.

The Russian River Firefighters Association would like to say thank you to everyone who attended our Annual Firefighter’s BBQ which was held on June 11th after the Stumptown Parade. With your support, we made about $7,000 for use towards much needed equipment. We would also like to say a special thank you to all of the friends and family of the Association who volunteered to help and made this a successful event.
Address signs are now available from the Firefighter’s Association. These signs are $15 and feature a 6”x18” reflective green background and white lettering. Address signs that are properly visible from the street help us at night when we need to find an emergency. For more information, please visit the station or call the on duty crew at 869-0553.
The next meeting of the Board of Directors will be on July 13th at 6pm at the fire station. We hope you’ll consider attending.
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Volunteering in the Community
Forestville Firefighters and their families spent well over 60 setting up for and working during the Youth Park Bar-b-que.
Board Meetings
The next Board of Directors meeting will be July 12, 2011 beginning at 6pm at the Forestville Fire Station located at 6554 Mirabel Road.
Youth Park Parade Water Fight
The Forestville Firefighters officially lost the annual Youth Park Parade water fight to the kids, young and old, again this year.  Over 1000 water balloons and 1500 gallons of water were exchanged in the annual skirmish.  Everyone got wet!  Forestville firefighters distributed over 50 lbs of candy to the parade viewers as a result of their loss.

55th Annual Occidental Volunteer Fire Department Barbeque
The summer is here and it is almost time for Occidental’s annual firefighters’ chicken barbeque.  This year’s event is the 55th annual barbeque and it is always a great party!  It will be held under the redwoods on Sunday, July 17 at the Union Hotel Grove on Bohemian Highway, 1 mile north of downtown Occidental.  They will be serving from noon to 6:00 p.m.  The admission is free. There will be live music from the Steve Balich Polka Band and country western and rock and roll music by the California Cowboys ( for listening and dancing.  There will also be beer, salami throw, raffle, door prizes, wine, barbequed oysters, kids games, bounce house, and desserts.  Dinner prices are: Barbequed chicken $10.00, children $7.00, and tri-tip $ 13.00.  This year, by popular request, they will be offering “dinners to go” if you don’t have time to stay.  Pre-sale tickets are available at Occidental Hardware store or call the fire station at 874-3800.  All proceeds benefit the Occidental Volunteer Firefighters Association and donations are always welcome.

Our new Type 3 wildland engine (8762) is in service and ready for the upcoming wildland fire season. We continue to push along in the progress of building our new fire station. Electrical and plumbing rough-in is nearly complete and we are almost ready to sheetrock. We are excited to have received a $6000 allocation from the Bodega Bay Fisherman’s Festival. We are going to use those funds to purchase firefighter gear racks for the new station.  To continue to support Bodega Volunteer Fire Department please join us; August 7th for our Annual “BIG EVENT BBQ”. This event starts off with Sonoma County’s Shortest parade through Bodega  at 10:00AM followed by a full day of BBQ Tri-tip and chicken, Beer, Wine, Live Music, Kids Games, Crafts, Raffles and Fire Station Tours. FREE ADMISSION- Event Located in Downtown Bodega 17184 Bodega Hwy. or 707-876-9438 for INFO.

July 1st marks the beginning of our 2011 - 2012 Fiscal year.  The Board meetings in July (on the 12th), August (on the 9th), and September (on the 13th) hold the most information regarding our annual budget.  In July the Board will be presented with its annual special tax income report.  The information from this report will be used to determine the tax rate for the new fiscal year.  The tax rate will be voted on at the August meeting.  Then in September the Board will vote on the final budget for the 11/12 fiscal year.  It should also be noted that in November we will have to conduct the always tough to explain Prop-4 election, which in our case must be done every four years since the proceeds of our special tax money are greater than our original limit established back when we became a fire district (1984) and modified for inflation and population growth (not exceed 2% per year).  I hope to be able to share some very positive financial news with you in the coming months.
Please be advised that we will begin our annual weed inspections in July.
If you have not cut the weeds or brush around your home you will get a special notice from us asking you to complete the work as soon as possible.
Please remember that fireworks of any kind are not allowed on the coast.

New Fire Station – Almost Done!
The new station is 94% complete! The interior is virtually complete and the good weather has finally allowed the ground to be compacted and concrete to be poured. Hopefully, you will be seeing paving within the next week. Once completed, the landscaping will commence and you won’t have to look at the barren landscape any longer. We are looking forward to moving into the new station soon and inviting everyone for an open house later this summer!
Fire Siren Status
At the June 7th hearing, the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors unanimously agreed to let the siren be used at the new station based on a compromise recommended by the Citizen Advisory Committee to limit its activation at night to fires and traffic collisions involving extrication as well as when a second activation is needed to call the firefighters. We are researching how to implement a sleeper program that will help ensure adequate staffing at night when the siren is off. Thank you to everyone that took the time to write, call, and email the Supervisors. A special thank you to the 40+ people who came in person and spoke at the hearing.
Rent to a Volunteer Firefighter!
Do you own rental property near the Graton (or any volunteer) Firehouse?  Possibly a small house, in-law cottage, or apartment?  One of the biggest challenges in retaining volunteer firefighters is housing near the fire station.  Please let us know about any rental possibilities for our firefighters, 823-5515.  In return, you will receive a tenant that is civic-minded, truly cares about the community, and doesn’t mind the fire siren.  In addition, all firefighters are subject to random drug testing as a condition of volunteering with the department.  Thank you for considering volunteer firefighters the next time your rental property becomes available, whether in Graton or anywhere in Sonoma County.